Ruth Mitchell

Council partnership working to save millions of pounds

Two of the North East’s largest local authorities have signed a shared services agreement that is likely to save them millions of pounds.

Northumberland and Durham County Councils are hoping to make their back office administration more efficient so that they can protect and strengthen their front line services.

The deal, between the councils and enterprise software firm Oracle, will enable them to share an integrated software package that will modernise and streamline their procurement and financial management systems.

Northumberland County Council, which will host the application for Durham, has been using Oracle E-Business Suite since 2004 and believes they are benefiting from around £1m savings a year as a result.

Councilor Bill Brooks, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Our key aims as a council are to modernise and improve our services and organisation, and to keep council tax increases as low as possible. We are using this system to make savings ‘behind the scenes’, which contributes directly to helping us achieve our aims. It has not only given us savings that have exceeded our expectations but it has also helped give us a better understanding and more effective use of our management systems. “We have experienced the results for ourselves and are more than happy to work with Durham County Council so they too can get similar benefits for the council and its residents.”

By using the software, Durham County Council expects to save around £900,000 a year on its back office support operation once the project is fully implemented.

The Durham-Northumberland partnership is one of the key projects being supported by the North East Centre of Excellence to identify and share best practice in public sector shared services projects.

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